Well, ladies and gentlemen, the 2014 NBA Orlando Summer League has officially come and gone. While the Thunder were unable to claim back-to-back titles in Orlando, a valid argument can be made in their defense that winning is secondary in the Orlando Summer League. The Orlando Summer League’s primary purpose is to allow rookies, young guns, and unproven pros more floor time so that their talent and skill sets can be better evaluated.
I followed the Thunder and evaluated their team performances on a game-by-game basis this past week. While it made for some interesting reading, not much of what was covered has much impact towards the future. Out of the Thunder’s 14-man Summer League roster, literally half are going to struggle to make an NBA roster at all, much less the Thunder’s comparatively deep one.
As a matter of fact, out of the Thunder’s 6-man Summer League coaching staff, only Head Coach, Darko Rajakovic, and Assistant Coach, Mike Terpstra, have served as assistant coaches under Scott Brooks this past NBA season. Athletic Trainer, Joe Sharpe, is a Thunder staple. But even he was joined by Sebastian Poirier, whose name I’m willing to bet Thunder fans will most likely never hear again after week’s end.
But all of that is beside the point. The Orlando Summer League is not about evaluating coaching talent, as coaches have to get as many players floor time as they can. Therefore, Summer League coaches can’t always employ the strategies they’d normally use if they were playing for an actual NBA Championship. That is why coaches will not be a part of my upcoming evaluation series.
My upcoming series, starting tomorrow, will be titled: OSL Performance Eval: [Insert player name here]. It will be a week-long series that focuses on the 7 individual players I believe to be under the biggest of the Thunder microscopes at this time, published in increasing order of perceived importance to the team. Each individual performance evaluation will go into game-by-game stat breakdowns, overall stat totals, and what those numbers suggest of each player’s overall value to the Thunder organization moving forward. I’d even go as far as to call the series required reading for any hardcore Thunder fanatic or stat guru.
It all starts tomorrow, so be sure to check back with Thunderous Intentions! If you can’t get enough Thunder, you’ll certainly be glad you did.